www.wvgazettemail.com U.S. and World http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Armed citizen accidentally fires shots at recruiting station http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150723/GZ01/150729704 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150723/GZ01/150729704 Thu, 23 Jul 2015 19:54:16 -0400 LANCASTER, Ohio - An armed civilian accidentally fired a shot from an AR-15 rifle into the pavement outside a military recruiting center in Ohio on Thursday but no one was hurt, police said.

The incident occurred days after armed citizens started showing up at military recruiting centers around the country to act as guards following last week's killing of four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

A police report said Christopher Reed, 28, was holding the rifle outside the recruiting station near the River Valley Mall in Lancaster, about 40 miles southeast of Columbus, at about noon when someone asked to look at the weapon. While Reed was clearing the ammunition from the rifle, he accidentally fired a shot into the pavement.

Reed was given a summons to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm within the city limits. A call to a number listed for him in the police report rang unanswered.

Citizens in many states, some of them private militia members, said they're supporting the recruiters, who by military directive are not armed.

There's no evidence that such centers are in danger, and the government isn't changing how they're staffed. But some governors have temporarily moved National Guard recruiting centers to armories and several - including Ohio's John Kasich on Wednesday - have authorized Guard personnel to carry weapons at state facilities.

Military officials say the Pentagon shouldn't rush to change the ban, which is governed in part by century-old law, because arming troops in those facilities could cause more problems than it might solve.

Navy officials said a recruiter in Atlanta accidently shot himself in the leg with his personal .45-caliber pistol while discussing the Tennessee shootings with one of his recruits last week. Officials said he showed the sailor the unloaded gun, then reloaded it and inadvertently discharged it as he was putting it back in his holster.


Jury awards patient $500k after anesthesiologist mocked him http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150625/GZ01/150629419 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150625/GZ01/150629419 Thu, 25 Jun 2015 11:40:43 -0400 RESTON, Va. - A Virginia man was awarded $500,000 in court after being mocked and insulted by an anesthesiologist during a colonoscopy in 2013.

The Washington Post reports the Fairfax County jury ordered 42-year-old Tiffany Ingham and her practice to pay the man after a three-day trial last week.

Officials say the man, who wanted to remain anonymous, recorded the incident in April 2013 while being prepped for the procedure so it would capture the doctor's post-operation instructions.

But when he listened to recording while on his way home, he discovered that he had recorded the entire examination and that the doctor and the rest of the surgical team had insulted and mocked him once he fell asleep.

Ingham was recorded saying "after five minutes of talking to you in pre-op, I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit." When a medical assistant noted the man had a rash, the anesthesiologist warned her not to touch it, saying she might get "some syphilis on your arm or something," then added, "It's probably tuberculosis in the penis, so you'll be all right."

The lawsuit states the recording captured Ingham mocking the amount of anesthetic needed to sedate the man and a gastroenterologist, 48-year-old Soloman Shah, commented that another doctor they both knew "would eat him for lunch." Shah, who performed the colonoscopy, was dismissed from the case.

- The Associated Press

The procedure took place at a large medical suite in Reston, Va.

The jury awarded the man $100,000 for defamation - $50,000 each for the comments about the man having syphilis and tuberculosis - and $200,000 for medical malpractice, as well as the $200,000 in punitive damages.

One of the jurors, Farid Khairzada, said that there was not much defense, because everything was on tape.

"We finally came to a conclusion," Khairzada said, "that we have to give him something, just to make sure that this doesn't happen again."

The newspaper reported that Ingham had worked out of the Aisthesis anesthesia practice in Bethesda, Md., which the jury ruled should pay $50,000 of the $200,000 in punitive damages. Officials there did not return a call seeking comment. Ingham no longer works there, an Aisthesis employee said.

- The Associated Press

Suspect unemotional in court as victims' families express grief, call on him to repent http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150618/GZ01/150619306 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150618/GZ01/150619306 Thu, 18 Jun 2015 08:02:18 -0400 By Richard A. Serrano, Timothy M. Phelps and Michael Muskal Tribune Washington Bureau (TNS)

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Dylann Roof was ordered held without bail on murder charges in connection with an attack on a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine African-Americans dead and reopened a national debate about racial violence.

During the dramatic hearing in front of Chief Magistrate James B. Gosnell Jr., Roof, 21, stood in prison togs with his hands behind his back. Two heavily armed officers were behind Roof, who was unemotional as several representatives of the families of those slain expressed their grief and called on him to repent.

"I forgive you and my family forgives you," said a representative of Myra Thompson, 59, one of those killed in the Wednesday night attack during a Bible class inside the Emanuel AME Church. "Repent and confess and give your life to Christ and change your ways. You'll be better off than you are now."

"Every fiber in my body hurts, and I will never be the same," said Felicia Sanders, the mother of victim Tywanza Sanders. "May God have mercy on you."

The magistrate noted he does not have the authority to set bond for the murder charges but ordered a $1 million bail on one count of possession of a firearm during a violent crime. The next appearance was set for Oct. 23.

Roof, 21, appeared at the bond hearing via a video link. He is being held in a cell next to the former North Charleston police officer who fatally shot a fleeing, unarmed black man, an incident that had also roiled racial tensions in the region and nation.

Roof has reportedly made statements "tantamount to a confession" in the shooting during a prayer service inside the historic black church, a law enforcement source said earlier Friday.

The federal law enforcement official, speaking anonymously, said he was told that Roof talked to local investigators and described some details about Wednesday night's shooting. The source has been briefed on the matter but is not permitted to speak publicly because the case is unfolding.

Charles Francis, top spokesman for the Charleston Police Department, said Roof "has been interviewed by our investigators and he has made some statements about what happened" in the church. "Our detectives always interview suspects, and that is what happened here too."

Francis declined to discuss exactly what Roof told local detectives, but said that it was consistent with the decision by state prosecutors to file the nine murder charges and firearm charge against him.

The racial issue has remained a gnawing presence during the debate after the shooting.

Speaking at a news conference, NAACP national President Cornell William Brooks condemned the shooting as "an act of racial terrorism" and a hate crime that goes against the "conscience and soul of the country." He condemned state officials for continuing to fly the Confederate flag, an ongoing issue that has worsened race relations in the South.

"We cannot have the Confederate flag at the state Capitol," Brooks said. The leader of the NAACP criticized those who defended the flag, which represented the Southern states that seceded from the Union over black slavery, leading to the Civil War. It has become a symbol for some white supremacist groups.

"Some say it is a symbol of heritage and not hate," Brooks said, dismissing those arguments. "That symbol has to come down and that symbol has to be removed."

Brooks also condemned those who insisted the shooting was the work of a lone wolf, rather than an act of terrorism against all people, especially the African-American community.

"Is the right terminology a lone shooter or is the right terminology a domestic terrorist?" he said. "This was an act of racial terrorism."

South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley called for Roof to face the death penalty in the shooting, which is being investigated by state and federal authorities as a hate crime.

Roof is the sole suspect in the shooting at the iconic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. The attack has shocked this Southern city and the nation, already racked by race and police violence issues.

"This is a state that is hurt by the fact that nine people innocently were killed," Haley said Friday, adding that the state "absolutely will want him to have the death penalty."

Haley spoke on NBC's "Today" show and called the shooting "an absolute hate crime."

"This is the worst hate that I've seen -- and that the country has seen -- in a long time," she said. "We will fight this, and we will fight this as hard as we can."

Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. says that although he's not a proponent of the death penalty, it's the law in South Carolina and he expects it will be sought against Roof.

"If you are going to have a death penalty, certainly this case would merit it," he said at a televised news conference.

Several North Charleston residents had joined a crowd of media outside the court building on a scorching 100-degree afternoon, waiting for the hearing to begin.

"Charleston is like one family. We all talk to each other, all hug each other, even people you don't know," said April Cox, 29, of North Charleston. "And now the whole community is torn apart. It's everybody hurting. All races are hurting."

She said she's worried that anger from the slayings, and other incidents here and around the country, might spark more racial violence this summer. "That's what I'm afraid of," she said. "So we just pray and leave it up to the Lord."

Theius Singleton, 31, a merchant marine seaman from North Charleston, said he thought the massacre might have been borne of messages of racism heard by the shooter while growing up.

"You know those little wind-up things you got when you were young? Wind them up, and they go," he said. "That was somebody who was wound up. I'm not saying it was on purpose; it might have been just subliminal things he got all his life."

Roof was returned to Charleston under heavy guard Thursday night after his arrest in Shelby, North Carolina, about 250 miles away. During an intense manhunt, a citizen's tip led police to Roof, whose distinctive bowl-shaped haircut and boyish looks were broadcast near and far.

According to friends, Roof had been making racist comments. His Facebook page showed the high school dropout wearing small versions of the flags of two former white-dominated racist regimes in Africa.

Witnesses to the shooting told their fellow parishioners that Roof shouted racial epithets before gunning down six women and three men, old and young alike. They said he told one woman that he allowed her to live so she could tell the story of what he had done, while two others, including a child, played dead on the church floor.

Joseph Meek, a roommate of Roof's, said that Roof "was big into segregation" and had been plotting something for six months. "I think he wanted something big like Trayvon Martin," Meek told ABC News, referring to the death of a black teenager at the hands of George Zimmerman in Florida three years ago.

Meek said he and Roof had connected a few weeks ago and while they drank vodka Roof began complaining that "blacks were taking over the world" and that "someone needed to do something about it for the white race," The Associated Press reported.

Meek said Roof told him that he had used birthday money from his parents to buy a .45-caliber Glock pistol and that he had "a plan," the AP said. Roof didn't say what the plan was, but Meek said it scared him enough that he took the gun out of Roof's car and hid it in his house until the next day.

It's not clear whether Roof had any connection to the 16 white supremacist organizations operating in South Carolina, but he appears to be a "disaffected white supremacist," based on his Facebook page, said Richard Cohen, president of Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama.

Roof entered the church, founded in 1818, at 8:17 p.m. and sat quietly with a dozen pastors and parishioners for nearly an hour before pulling out a gun and firing.

Among the victims was the church's pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who had sponsored a bill in the Legislature to require police to wear body cameras, a move that came after a white police officer killed an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, in North Charleston.

The other victims were Cynthia Hurd, 54; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; and the Revs. DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49, Sharonda Singleton, 45, and Daniel Simmons Sr., 74. Three people survived.

Serrano reported from Washington, Phelps from Charleston, S.C., and Muskal from Los Angeles. Staff writer Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Charleston contributed to this report.

Amtrak train derailment kills 6 people; investigation begins http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150513/GZ01/150519703 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150513/GZ01/150519703 Wed, 13 May 2015 07:48:05 -0400 By GEOFF MULVIHILL THE ASSOCIATED PRESS PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Daylight on Wednesday revealed the destruction and devastation caused by an Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia that left at least six people dead and injured dozens more, several critically.

Some survivors had to scramble through the windows of toppled cars to escape. One of the seven cars was completely mangled.

The accident has closed the nation’s busiest rail corridor between New York and Washington as federal investigators begin sifting through the twisted remains to determine what went wrong.

Train 188, a Northeast Regional, left Washington, D.C. and was headed to New York when it derailed shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday. Amtrak said the train was carrying 238 passengers and five crew members.

Mayor Michael Nutter, who confirmed five deaths, said the scene was horrific and not all the people on the train had been accounted for.

Temple University Hospital’s Dr. Herbert Cushing said Wednesday a person died there overnight from a chest injury

“It is an absolute disastrous mess,” Nutter said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”

He said all seven train cars, including the engine, were in “various stages of disarray.” He said there were cars that were “completely overturned, on their side, ripped apart.”

More than 140 people went to hospitals to be evaluated or treated.

Amtrak said the cause of the derailment was not known and that it was investigating. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration were also dispatching investigators to the site.

Early Wednesday morning, authorities on the scene seemed to be girding for a long haul. One sign: several portable toilets were delivered for investigators and recovery workers. Utility poles near the wreck could be seen leaning into the tracks.

“It is a devastating scene down there,” Nutter said. “We walked the entire length of the train area, and the engine completely separated from the rest of the train, and one of the cars is perpendicular to the rest of the cars. It’s unbelievable.”

The front of the train was going into a turn when it started to shake before coming to a sudden stop.

An Associated Press manager, Paul Cheung, was on the train and said he was watching Netflix when “the train started to decelerate, like someone had slammed the brake.”

“Then suddenly you could see everything starting to shake,” he said. “You could see people’s stuff flying over me.”

Cheung said another passenger urged him to escape from the back of his car, which he did. He said he saw passengers trying to escape through the windows of cars tipped on their sides.

“The front of the train is really mangled,” he said. “It’s a complete wreck. The whole thing is like a pile of metal.”

Gaby Rudy, an 18-year-old from Livingston, New Jersey, was headed home from George Washington University when the derailment occurred. She said she was nearly asleep when she suddenly felt the train “fall off the track.”

The next few minutes were filled with broken glass and smoke, said Rudy, who suffered minor injuries. “They told us we had to run away from the train in case another train came,” she said.

Another passenger, Daniel Wetrin, was among more than a dozen people taken to a nearby elementary school afterward.

“I think the fact that I walked off (the train) kind of made it even more surreal because a lot of people didn’t walk off,” he said. “I walked off as if, like, I was in a movie. There were people standing around, people with bloody faces. There were people, chairs, tables mangled about in the compartment ... power cables all buckled down as you stepped off the train.”

Police swarming around Tuesday’s derailment site, in Port Richmond, a working-class area with a mix of warehouses, industrial buildings and homes, told people to get back, away from the train. They pleaded with curious onlookers: “Do NOT go to scene of derailment. Please allow first responders room to work.”

Roads all around the crash site were blocked off. Hundreds of firefighters surrounded the train cars, taking people out.

Several injured people, including one man complaining of neck pain, were rolled away on stretchers. Others wobbled while walking away or were put on city buses. An elderly woman was given oxygen.

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy was on the train and said he helped people. He tweeted photos of firefighters helping other people in the wreckage.

“Pray for those injured,” he said.

Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware also was on the Amtrak train but got off in Wilmington, shortly before the derailment. He later tweeted that he was “grateful to be home safe and sound.”

The area where the derailment occurred is known as Frankford Junction and has a big curve. It’s not far from where one of the nation’s deadliest train accidents occurred: the 1943 derailment of The Congressional Limited, from Washington to New York, which killed 79 people.

Amtrak said rail service on the busy Northeast Corridor between New York and Philadelphia had been stopped. The mayor, citing the mangled train tracks and downed wires, said, “There’s no circumstance under which there would be any Amtrak service this week through Philadelphia.”

Port Richmond, one of five neighborhoods in what’s known as Philadelphia’s River Wards, includes dense rowhouse neighborhoods located off the Delaware River. Area resident David Hernandez, whose home is close to the tracks, heard the derailment.

“It sounded like a bunch of shopping carts crashing into each other,” he said.

The crashing sound lasted a few seconds, he said, and then there was chaos and screaming.

Gov. Tom Wolf, who was in touch with the mayor and other state and local officials about the derailment, thanked the first responders for “their brave and quick action.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with all of those impacted by tonight’s train derailment,” he said in a statement. “For those who lost their lives, those who were injured, and the families of all involved, this situation is devastating.”

'Lincoln never dies' - President's legacy resonates 150 years after his death http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150411/GZ01/150419882 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150411/GZ01/150419882 Sat, 11 Apr 2015 17:04:30 -0400 By Adam Geller The Associated Press WASHINGTON - In the oak-paneled hush of the reading room overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue, Karen Needles mostly works alone - but always in good company.

Five mornings a week, Needles signs in at the National Archives, often wearing an Abraham Lincoln T-shirt, and her hand sets to work atop a Lincoln mouse pad. Some days, she stations an Honest Abe bobblehead beside her laptop, his bearded chin seemingly nodding approval.

Here, backed by bound volumes of Lincoln's writings and three blocks from where, 150 years ago this week, he was felled by an assassin's bullet, Needles is on a self-appointed mission: to bring the Great Emancipator to life.

"They call me Lady Lincoln," chuckles the former middle school history teacher who digitally scans every original record she can from Lincoln's administration - from letters he signed to his final paycheck, for $1,981.67 - posting them online for anyone to see without charge.

To Needles, raised in small town Kansas and first in her family to go to college, Lincoln has long been a role model. In a new era of poisoned politics, though, she said we could all use some Lincoln. She laughs, thinking how satisfying it would be if his seated likeness at the Lincoln Memorial could take a few of today's politicians over his knee and give them what-for.

"Lincoln never dies," she said.

Lincoln's life in memory began almost immediately after he was shot on April 14, 1865. The country embarked on a 1,700-mile funeral that stretched from the capital through seven states. Crowds lined the rails, even in the dark, in an outpouring that has never been rivaled. They mourned Lincoln as a proxy for all the young men who'd never be coming home from war.

But that was a long time ago and Lincoln belongs to history now. Or does he?

From Washington to Lincoln's resting place in Springfield, Illinois, the commemoration of his death echoes past grief and a nation's defining struggle.

But it also stirs the voices of Lincoln's many modern-day admirers, people like Needles. A century and a half after Lincoln was killed, people continue to connect with him in almost personal terms, while searching anew for his relevance to the Republic he left behind.

"There was a rush towards the President's box when cries were heard - 'Stand back and give him air.' . . . The entire city to-night presents a scene of wild excitement, accompanied by violent expressions of the profoundest sorrow." - Washington, April 14, 1865, The Associated Press

When tourists queued in front of Ford's Theatre on a recent blustery morning, 9-year-old Luke Ring was near the front, blond hair poking out from under the dark blue cap of a Union soldier.

"I like that he was president during the Civil War and he wanted freedom for the slaves," said the boy, here with his parents and three siblings. "I like everything about him. He's just really cool."

The Rings, from Franklin, Tennessee, have arrived by way of Gettysburg, scene for one of the most recalled moments of Lincoln's presidency. But this spring-break history lesson wouldn't be complete without gazing into the theater box, draped in red, white and blue bunting, where John Wilkes Booth drew his pistol.

Lincoln's death, in the backroom of a boarding house across the street, elevated him to martyrdom, said Richard Wightman Fox, author of "Lincoln's Body: A Cultural History." For a century, Americans with a cause attached themselves to that legacy, right up to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

"Lincoln is important today, but it's a different kind of importance," Fox said. He still embodies the American ideal that anyone can reach the pinnacle, even from the most humble beginnings. But with Lincoln now used to market everything from auto insurance to barbecue sauce, the aura of sainthood has faded.

Instead, for many, he is the approachable president, looked to as a "model for what it means to be a leader," Fox said.

"His vision still resonates in American culture - that we can always do better," said Tyler Ring, Luke's father.

At the Memorial, throngs of visitors pose for photos with Lincoln's 19-foot statue, but some pause to study his words engraved in the Indiana limestone. Sherri Bell, a market development manager from Indianapolis, clasped boyfriend Brien Smith's arm as they read Lincoln's second inaugural address.

"He was very real," Bell said. "He was president, but he seemed liked a regular person, with all the pain and suffering and decisions."

"From the White House to the Capitol, the roofs, porticos, windows and all elevated points were occupied by interested spectators ... This was the largest funeral procession that ever took place in Washington ... Many thousands of hearts throbbed in unison with the solemn dirges, as the procession slowly moved upon the way." - Washington, D.C., April 19, 1865, AP

From Washington, the funeral train traveled to Baltimore, then Philadelphia, where lines to view Lincoln's body stretched three miles from Independence Hall. In Jersey City, New Jersey, German immigrants mourned so vigorously that their songs were heard across the water in New York - where 120,000 later filed past the coffin.

Then, the 9-car procession continued north, retracing nearly all of Lincoln's 1861 route to the White House.

On that celebratory first journey, the train had stopped briefly at Peekskill, New York, and, for decades, the Hudson River town has relished its brush with greatness. Each year, the local Lincoln Society holds a dinner and, last year, Peekskill's restored train station opened as the Lincoln Depot Museum.

Most of the stations where the funeral train stopped are long gone, but the little brick building where mourning locals gathered is the same place that today New York commuters hurtle past morning and night.

Last year, Tony Czarnecki, a past president of the society, heard that someone had built an exact replica of Lincoln's coffin. In fact, there are four, made by Indiana's Batesville Casket Co. - one for a museum and the rest sent to funeral homes and others that ask to exhibit them, usually for events around Lincoln's birthday.

"This year, they're booked for the entire year," company spokeswoman Teresa Gyulafia said.

In late April, one of those walnut coffins, covered in black broadcloth, will lie in state in Peekskill's depot, with Civil War re-enactors standing sentry. Visitors will sign a condolence book to be sent to Springfield.

"We wouldn't be the country that we are without the Union that he preserved," Czarnecki said. "We honor that in ways large and small."

"The body of President Lincoln arrived here at ten o'clock . . . The stores are all closed, the whole population is in the streets, bells tolling, and minute guns firing. The weather is unpleasant; a fine mist falling and the lowering sky add to the sadness which is depicted on every countenance." - Baltimore, April 21, 1865, The Daily Age of Philadelphia

People bond with Lincoln in their own way.

Mary Coe Foran's fascination with him dates to childhood, when her family treasured a swatch of cloth, stained with blood, reputedly cut from the dress of the actress who cradled the dying Lincoln's head. She recalls the many questions it prompted.

Foran became a teacher, won a grant to study Lincoln in Springfield, where her family has its roots, and returned to Nashua, New Hampshire, bent on passing on her enthusiasm.

When Foran heard that Springfield would re-enact Lincoln's funeral, she signed up, along with her mother, father, brother and son - who will play the part of Lincoln's eldest son. She recruited 10 Fairgrounds Middle School students, who started their own Lincoln Association, meeting after school to research the period so they could make an exact replica of Robert Todd Lincoln's frock coat.

"To me," Foran said, "it's about connection and it's about trying to understand people."

The Rev. Duncan Newcomer was so drawn to Lincoln that he wrote his divinity school thesis on the Illinoisan. At 23, he spent $500 to commission a painting of Lincoln that still hangs next to his desk.

Leading congregations in Kentucky and Connecticut, Newcomer sermonized about Lincoln. Later, as a psychotherapist, Newcomer said he found Lincoln a prism for understanding people's struggles.

Today, 71 and living in Belfast, Maine, Newcomer said Lincoln remains present as a template for Americans still struggling with race relations and societal conflict.

"I do feel like he's been some kind of soul mate for me," Newcomer said.

"There were no social lines, no boundaries between condition separating those who, in solemn pageant, moved past the coffin that held the mortal parts of Abraham Lincoln. The banker and merchant walked side by side with the laborer, the lad of fashion and estate with the lowly kitchen maid . . ." - Cleveland, April 29, 1865, Cleveland Leader

People have been carving and casting tributes to Lincoln ever since his death, but inside a mechanical workshop in the Chicago suburb of Elgin, Dave Kloke has found a decidedly different way to honor him.

Kloke, owner of a home construction business, became an admirer 20 years ago, after watching a documentary about Lincoln's push to build the transcontinental railroad, even as the Civil War raged.

The initiative and the machinery intrigued him, so Kloke put his skills to use and built a working replica of an 1860s steam engine, completed about nine years ago. Looking for a follow-up, he took a friend's suggestion and began researching the custom-made train car that carried Lincoln's coffin. The original car was destroyed in a 1911 fire.

Over the past five years, Kloke has built a copy of the dark-maroon car, with gold leaf and brass fittings. He had hoped to hook it to the locomotive and re-travel the funeral train's exact route, but couldn't find financial sponsors. In recent weeks, though, he and other volunteers have scrambled to finish painting and upholstering, to get the car to Springfield by early May, before going on tour.

Of Lincoln, Kloke said, "I just think he lived like I try to live my life, just trying to be an honest person and going forward and doing the right thing."

"Along the road the people appeared to the number of thousands, carrying torches and kindling bonfires to enable them clearly to see the funeral car, or as if to light it on its way." - April 30, 1865, between Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, New York Herald

The night before Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address, a crowd gathered under his hotel window to sing a welcome. After 150 years, though, their song - "We Are Coming Father Abraham" - had largely faded from memory.

Then, Don Johnson, a former firefighter who now makes a living playing and teaching classical trumpet, got a call. Johnson, who lives near Lebanon, Kentucky, had played in Civil War bands but knew relatively little about the president, when he heard producers were searching for musicians to recreate period military tunes for the 2012 film, "Lincoln."

Johnson recruited the band for the film, then kept it together as "President Lincoln's Own." Watching modern audiences react to the tunes and the stories of turmoil behind them, he began to appreciate Lincoln in ways he hadn't considered.

One audience, clapping to an upbeat number, turned silent and a man wept when the band sounded the mournful "Home Sweet Home," which had been played in unison by Union and Confederate troops encamped along the Rappahannock River. Another piece, from a favorite Lincoln opera about war and sacrifice, made Johnson consider that the president knew many he had sent to battle would not return.

Those tunes will live again when Johnson's band marches in the re-enactment of Lincoln's funeral.

"All you need to do is just look at his face, and you can see the kindness in him...," Johnson said. "I think we connect every time we have a concert."

"But Illinois when she saw her Lincoln made President, and now, when she receives his cold ashes, contrasts [as] widely as heaven and hell. And yet she finds some balm for her grief in pride that he in whom they first saw virtue and greatness is now reckoned by the whole nation as greatest and most worthy." - Chicago, May 1, 1865, New York Tribune

The first school bus arrived curbside just after 9, and soon the Rotunda of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, in Springfield, echoed with fifth-graders.

"This is Lincoln's story," volunteer Stephen Sauer, a retired history teacher, told students gathered on a bench. Over his shoulder, a young Abe sits on a stump outside a re-imagining of his family's Indiana log cabin. Across the way, the facade of the White House beckons. "As you wander through his journey, you'll see him grow and change."

Students from nearby Pleasant Plains Elementary paused before Civil War photos, including one of a 10-year-old soldier. "Holy smoke!" one boy said. A doorway led to a darkened chamber, where the sounds of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" played over a replica of Lincoln's coffin.

"It's hard to imagine that it actually happened," said fifth-grader Nevaeh Ezzo, who is black.

"The world would be very different, there would still be slavery, if it weren't for Lincoln," white classmate Dylan Schaller said.

"I think it's his relatability that makes him a perennially fascinating individual," said Daniel Stowell, director of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, at the neighboring presidential library.

Like Lincoln, we're still wrestling with questions and conflicts surrounding race, the balance between state's rights and federal power, and the frustrations of self-government, he said. Lincoln's place in those debates continues to draw people looking for answers.

Robert Davis' journey began as a boy in Detroit, hearing elders talk of his great-grandparents' life after slavery and the family's migration - accounts always dated relative to Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's march through the South.

Davis, now 72 and retired to Springfield after a career in business, became a student of Lincoln. In his spare time, he dons a Union uniform to join Civil War re-enactments, playing a runaway slave who joined the United States Colored Troops. To commemorate the assassination, he is directing Springfield teens in a play about the abolition of slavery, with the role of Lincoln to be played by a black woman.

"I think Lincoln was one of those men who could see through the fog of time, the fog of history, and he had a vision of a road for this country," Davis said. "We're not there yet. Ferguson showed us that. We're not there yet, but we're still on that road."

Any student of history knows how Lincoln's journey ended, but on an overcast afternoon, visitors circled into Oak Ridge Cemetery, still trying to get close to him.

"There's this kind of quietness that we feel," said Kristin Petersen, 27, of Clarksville, Arkansas, pausing with her fiance for a moment of remembrance on the grass before the tomb. "It didn't feel sad, it felt peaceful. It was more like being grateful."

A few minutes later, 10-year-old Ryan Harvey and his parents, Phil and Jennifer, visiting for the day from Gurnee, Illinois, came to pay their respects.

Ryan laid a penny atop the stone marking where Lincoln was first buried. He rubs the nose on a bronze sculpture of the president's head, burnished smooth and gold by visitors hoping Abe brings them luck.

"I can feel that he's still here, somehow," Ryan said.

1 dead, homes destroyed in tiny Illinois town after tornado http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150410/ARTICLE/150419960 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150410/ARTICLE/150419960 Fri, 10 Apr 2015 07:04:10 -0400 By Sara Burnett and Herbert G. McCann | The Associated Press FAIRDALE, Ill. (AP) – A tornado hit the tiny northern Illinois town of Fairdale, killing one person, injuring seven and sweeping homes off their foundations, as part of a storm system that pummeled a large swath of the country.

A 67-year-old woman was found dead inside her home, DeKalb County coroner Dennis Miller said at a news conference early Friday. Seven others were taken to area hospitals for injuries.

In Fairdale, an unincorporated town of about 200 residents about 80 miles northwest of Chicago, “17 structures have been determined to be destroyed,” Matthew Knott, division chief for the Rockford Fire Department, told The Associated Press. He added that the total could fluctuate. “All of the others have sustained damage of some sort,” he said.

The town’s power was out early Friday, and everyone had been evacuated. A shelter was set up at a nearby high school. The Red Cross and Salvation Army were assisting.

Authorities said that they were fairly confident there were no more victims among the debris but that they would be working Friday to account for every single resident, including those who may have left town before the storm.

The National Weather Service tweeted around 7 p.m. that a tornado was on the ground in nearby Rochelle and urged residents to seek shelter immediately. Authorities said Fairdale does not have outdoor warning sirens.

Kirkland Community Fire District Chief Chad Connell said he watched the tornado move across the area from his porch. Asked to describe it, he was at a loss of words, saying only “it was big” as he shook his head.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” he continued.

Approximately 20 additional homes were severely damaged or destroyed in Ogle County, Sheriff Brian Van Vickle said in a news conference. But no deaths or significant injuries were reported. Ogle County is adjacent to DeKalb County.

Van Vickle said 12 people were trapped in the basement of Grubsteakers, a Rochelle restaurant that collapsed during the storm.

One of those rescued from the restaurant, Raymond Kramer, 81, told Chicago’s WLS-TV that he was trapped with 11 others in the storm cellar for 90 minutes. They were freed only after emergency crews removed debris that had fallen over them. He said none of those rescued was injured.

“No sooner did we get down there, when it hit the building and laid a whole metal wall on top of the doors where we went into the storm cellar,” Kramer said. “When the tornado hit, we all got a dust bath. Everyone in there got shattered with dust and debris falling out of the rafters.”

The tornado was part of a storm that tracked across at least five counties, according to the Weather Service.

Radar and reports from trained spotters also show the severe weather produced “at the very least” one other tornado in northern Illinois, the Weather Service said.

Three damage survey teams will assess the areas tomorrow to determine the exact location and magnitude of the tornadoes.

The severe weather, the region’s first widespread bout, forced the cancellation of more than 850 flights at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and dozens of others at the city’s Midway International Airport.

The National Weather Service’s “enhanced risk” area had stretched from northeast Texas to Michigan, Wisconsin and across the upper Midwest. Forecasters say Philadelphia, Washington and other parts of the Atlantic coast could see the same weather patterns Friday, including Augusta, Georgia, where the Masters golf tournament is taking place through the weekend.

A severe thunderstorm that brought high winds and rain through East Texas on Thursday night damaged the roof of a nursing home in Longview, causing its evacuation. No injuries were immediately reported. Thousands were without power in the region.

Earlier Thursday, the Davenport, Iowa, office of the Weather Service said it had received multiple reports of tornadoes in Scott and Clinton counties in the far eastern part of the state. At least one tornado had touched down earlier Thursday evening in rural Donahue, about 15 miles north of Davenport. The Weather Service had no reports of injuries from those storms.

Minor injuries were reported Thursday in central Missouri when storms toppled trees, utility poles and billboards.

Cops: Man shoots Census Bureau guard, leads police on chase http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150410/ARTICLE/150419961 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150410/ARTICLE/150419961 Fri, 10 Apr 2015 07:00:52 -0400 By BRIAN WITTE and JESSICA GRESKO The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) – A man kidnapped a woman, fatally shot a Census Bureau guard and led police on a car chase through Maryland and Washington, before authorities cornered him in an exchange of gunfire that left the suspect and a police officer wounded, authorities said.

The guard, identified as Lawrence Buckner, died at a Prince George’s Hospital Center after Thursday evening’s chase and shooting, said Erika Murray, a spokeswoman for the hospital in Cheverly, Maryland. She did not give Buckner’s age.

Police said in a news release that the woman who was allegedly kidnapped was found safe.

The normally bustling H street corridor in Washington’s northeast – where the chase ended –remained closed during rush hour Friday morning as police continued their investigation there. Local television showed yellow police tape still strung across one of the Census Bureau gates in the Maryland suburbs early Friday.

The shooting was not terrorism-related, FBI Baltimore spokeswoman Amy J. Thoreson told The Associated Press in an email.

“We believe this was domestic related,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.

The officer and suspect were both conscious when they were taken for medical care, Lanier said at a news conference. There was no immediate update early Friday on their condition and identities were not immediately made public.

Lanier said a guard at a gate of the U.S. Census Bureau in Suitland, Maryland, saw two people fighting in a car that matched the description of a vehicle described in a report of an armed kidnapping about six miles away in northeast Washington.

When the guard approached the car, the man shot him and took off, crossing the border into the nation’s capital and firing at D.C. police who had begun to chase him, Lanier said.

He fired again at them during the chase before police blocked him and collided with his car, Lanier said. Cornered, the suspect opened fire again and police shot back. During the exchange of gunfire, both the suspect and an officer were wounded, she said.

“We have every reason to believe that the car we have ... is the same car involved” in the kidnapping, the shooting at the Census Bureau, and the shooting at police, Lanier said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev convicted in Boston Marathon bombing http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150408/ARTICLE/150409339 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150408/ARTICLE/150409339 Wed, 8 Apr 2015 14:55:41 -0400 By DENISE LAVOIE The Associated Press BOSTON (AP) - Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on all charges Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombing by a federal jury that now must decide whether the 21-year-old former college student should be executed.

Tsarnaev folded his arms, fidgeted and looked down at the defense table as he listened to one guilty verdict after another on all 30 counts against him, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction. Seventeen of those counts are punishable by death.

The jury took a day and a half to reach its verdict, which was practically a foregone conclusion, given his lawyer's startling admission during opening statements that Tsarnaev carried out the attack with his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan.

The two shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs that exploded near the finish line on April 15, 2013, killed three spectators and wounded more than 260 other people, turning the traditionally celebratory home stretch of the world-famous race into a scene of carnage and putting the city on edge for days.

Tsarnaev was found responsible not only for those deaths but for that of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who was shot days later during the brothers' getaway attempt.

In the trial's next phase, which could begin as early as Monday, the jury will hear evidence on whether Tsarnaev should get the death penalty or spend the rest of his life in prison.

In a bid to save Tsarnaev from a death sentence, defense attorney Judy Clarke has argued that Tsarnaev, then 19, fell under the influence of his radicalized brother. Tamerlan, 26, died when he was shot by police and run over by his brother during a chaotic getaway attempt days after the bombing.

"If not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened," Clarke told the jury during closing arguments.

Prosecutors, however, portrayed the brothers - ethnic Chechens who moved to the U.S. from Russia more than a decade ago - as full partners in a plan to punish the U.S. for its wars in Muslim countries. Jihadist writings, lectures and videos were found on both their computers, though the defense argued that Tamerlan downloaded the material and sent it to his brother.

The government called 92 witnesses over 15 days, painting a hellish scene of torn-off limbs, blood-spattered pavement, ghastly screams and the smell of sulfur and burned hair. Survivors gave heartbreaking testimony about losing legs in the blasts or watching people die. The father of an 8-year-old boy described making the agonizing decision to leave his mortally wounded son so he could get help for their 6-year-old daughter, whose leg had been blown off.

Killed were Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Chinese graduate student at Boston University; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager; and Martin Richard, the 8-year-old. MIT police Officer Sean Collier was shot to death at close range days later.

Some of the most damning evidence included video showing Tsarnaev planting a backpack containing one of the bombs near where the 8-year-old was standing, and incriminating statements scrawled inside the dry-docked boat where a wounded and bleeding Tsarnaev was captured days after the tragedy.

"Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop," he wrote.

Tsarnaev's lawyers barely cross-examined the government's witnesses and called just four people to the stand over less than two days, all in an effort to portray the older brother as the guiding force in the plot.

Witnesses testified about phone records that showed Dzhokhar was at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth while his brother was buying bomb components, including pressure cookers and BBs. A forensics expert said Tamerlan's computer showed search terms such as "detonator," "transmitter and receiver," while Dzhokhar was largely spending time on Facebook and other social media sites.

Also, an FBI investigator said Tamerlan's fingerprints - but not Dzhokhar's - were found on pieces of the two bombs.

Clarke is one of the nation's foremost death-penalty specialists and has kept other high-profile defendants off death row. She saved the lives of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Susan Smith, the South Carolina woman who drowned her two children in a lake in 1994.

Tsarnaev's lawyers tried repeatedly to get the trial moved out of Boston because of the heavy publicity and the widespread trauma. But opposition to capital punishment is strong in Massachusetts, which abolished its state death penalty in 1984, and some polls have suggested a majority of Bostonians do not want to see Tsarnaev sentenced to die.

During the penalty phase, Tsarnaev's lawyers will present so-called mitigating evidence they hope will save his life. That could include evidence about his family, his relationship with his brother, and his childhood in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and later in the volatile Dagestan region of Russia.

Prosecutors will present so-called aggravating factors in support of the death penalty, including the killing of a child and the targeting of the marathon because of the potential for maximum bloodshed.

White South Carolina officer charged with murder in black man's death http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150408/ARTICLE/150409359 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150408/ARTICLE/150409359 Wed, 8 Apr 2015 07:32:56 -0400 By BRUCE SMITH and JEFFREY COLLINS | The Associated Press CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Dramatic video that shows a white South Carolina police officer shooting a fleeing black man after a traffic stop has led authorities to file a murder charge against the officer amid public outrage over a series of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement agents.

The video, provided to the dead man's family and lawyer by an unidentified person who shot the footage, shows North Charleston Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager firing eight shots at the back of Walter Lamer Scott as Scott runs away. The 50-year-old man falls after the eighth shot, fired after a brief pause.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced the charge at a news conference Tuesday in which he said Slager had made “a bad decision.” Authorities said Scott was shot after the officer had already hit the man with a stun gun after a traffic stop Saturday that began over a faulty brake light.

“When you're wrong, you're wrong,” Summey told reporters. “When you make a bad decision, don't care if you're behind the shield or a citizen on the street, you have to live with that decision.”

Slager, who has been with the North Charleston police for five years, was denied bond at a first appearance hearing Tuesday. He was not accompanied by a lawyer. If convicted, he could face 30 years to life in prison.

The shooting comes amid ongoing public issues of trust between law enforcement and minority communities after such prominent deaths as those of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner on Staten Island, New York.

Heightened scrutiny is being placed by Americans on police officer shootings, particularly those that involve white officers and unarmed black suspects. A grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Missouri, officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Brown last August, leading to nationwide protests.

A local Black Lives Matter group, formed after Brown's death, planned a demonstration Wednesday morning at North Charleston City Hall.

Scott's family and their attorney, L. Chris Stewart, called for calm and peaceful protests. They said the murder charge showed that the justice system is working in this case.

Stewart said the video forced authorities to act quickly and decisively. “What if there was no video? What if there was no witness, or hero as I call him, to come forward?” asked Stewart.

Slager's then-attorney David Aylor had released a statement Monday saying the officer felt threatened and that Scott was trying to grab Slager's stun gun. Aylor dropped Slager as a client after the video surfaced.

The footage was also released to news media outlets.

It shows Scott falling after the shots and then the officer slowly walking toward Scott and ordering the man to put his hands behind his back. When Scott doesn't move, Slager pulls his arms back and cuffs his hands. Then he walks briskly back to where he fired the shots, picks up an object, and returns the 30 feet or so back to Scott before dropping the object by Scott's feet, the video shows.

The video prompted condemnations from law-and-order Republican leaders in South Carolina.

Gov. Nikki Haley issued a statement saying Slager's actions were not acceptable and did not reflect the state's values or “the way most of our law enforcement officials act.”

Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, who is not related to Walter Scott, called the shooting unnecessary and avoidable. “My heart aches for the family and our North Charleston community. I will be watching this case closely,” he wrote on Twitter. Tim Scott is the only black U.S. senator from a Southern state.

Walter Scott may have tried to run from the officer because he owed child support, which can lead to jail time in South Carolina until it is paid, Stewart said. Scott had four children, was engaged and had been honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard. There were no violent offenses on his record, the attorney said. Stewart said the family plans to sue the police department.

Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said the Federal Bureau of Investigation also will investigate.

North Charleston is South Carolina's third-largest city. For years, it battled an economic slump caused by the mid-1990s closing of the Charleston Naval Base on the city's waterfront. The city has bounced back since, largely because of a huge investment by Boeing, which has a 787 aircraft manufacturing plant in the city and employs about 7,500 people in South Carolina, most in North Charleston.

In a separate case in South Carolina, a white police officer who shot a 68-year-old black man to death last year in his driveway was charged Tuesday with a felony: discharging a gun into an occupied vehicle.

A prosecutor previously tried to indict North Augusta officer Justin Craven on a manslaughter charge in the February 2014 death of Ernest Satterwhite. But a grand jury instead chose misconduct in office, which is a far lesser charge.

Craven chased Satterwhite for 9 miles beyond city limits to the man's driveway in Edgefield County. After Satterwhite parked, the officer repeatedly fired through the driver-side door, prosecutors said. The 25-year-old officer faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the gun charge.

Collins reported from Columbia, S.C. Associated Press Writer Tom Foreman Jr. in Charlotte, N.C., also contributed to this report.

Massive fire breaks out at GE's Appliance Park in Louisville http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150403/ARTICLE/150409704 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150403/ARTICLE/150409704 Fri, 3 Apr 2015 14:30:35 -0400 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Nearly 200 firefighters have been battling a fire at General Electric’s Appliance Park in Louisville, Kentucky, shutting down production at the sprawling manufacturing center that employs thousands.

The fire began Friday morning in a nonproduction building, creating huge columns of smoke.

GE spokeswoman Kim Freeman says there are no known injuries.

She says the building engulfed in flames was used for offices and storage and is used by a private supplier distribution center. She says the fire has been contained to the building.

Freeman says the cause is still unknown.

Media reports say people living within two miles of the fire have been ordered to stay inside because of noxious smoke.

GE makes a range of appliances at the facility, including washing machines, dryers, dish washers, refrigerators and water heaters.

Arkansas, Indiana lawmakers race to update religion bills http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150402/ARTICLE/150409861 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150402/ARTICLE/150409861 Thu, 2 Apr 2015 07:23:04 -0400 By ANDREW DeMILLO THE ASSOCIATED PRESS LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Lawmakers in Arkansas and Indiana are scrambling to revise controversial religious objection measures as Republican governors in both states try to quell a growing backlash from businesses and other critics who have called the proposals anti-gay.

A day after Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson called on the Legislature to change the measure he had once said he'd sign into law, House leaders hoped to give final approval Thursday to a bill to address his concerns. Legislative leaders in Indiana were also working on efforts to change that state's similar recently enacted law.

The bill would prohibit state and local government from infringing upon someone's religious beliefs without a compelling reason. Hutchinson asked lawmakers to recall the bill, amend it, or pass a follow-up measure that would make the proposal more closely mirror a federal religious freedom law.

"How do we as a state communicate to the world that we are respectful of a diverse workplace and we want to be known as a state that does not discriminate but understands tolerance?" Hutchinson said to reporters at the Capitol Wednesday. "That is the challenge we face. Making this law like the federal law will aid us in that effort in communication, but also was my original objective from the beginning."

Hutchinson was the second governor in as many days to give ground to opponents of the law. After Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a similar measure last week, Pence and fellow Republicans endured days of sharp criticism from around the country. Pence is now seeking follow-up legislation to address concerns that the law could allow businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

Hutchinson's office as recently as Tuesday had said he planned to sign the bill, but a day later he called for changes.

He has faced pressure from the state's largest employers, including retail giant Wal-Mart, that had called the bill discriminatory and said would hurt Arkansas' image. Hutchinson noted that his own son, Seth, had signed a petition urging his dad to veto the bill.

"This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial," the governor said. "But these are not ordinary times."

Neither the Indiana nor Arkansas law specifically mentions gays and lesbians, but opponents are concerned that the language contained in them could offer a legal defense to businesses and other institutions that refuse to serve gays, such as caterers, florists or photographers with religious objections to same-sex marriage.

Supporters insist the law will only give religious objectors a chance to bring their case before a judge.

Similar proposals have been introduced this year in more than a dozen states, patterned after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, with some differences. Indiana and 19 other states have similar laws on the books.

The proposal approved by the Arkansas Senate on Wednesday night only addresses actions by the government, not by businesses or individuals. Supporters of the amended version said the change means businesses denying services to someone on religious grounds could not use the law as a defense.

Opponents of the law were encouraged by Hutchinson's comments.

"What's clear is the governor has been listening," said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group. Now opponents have to "keep the pressure on," he said.

Conservative groups that sought the measure questioned the need for any changes and said Hutchinson should sign the bill as is.

"I'm very puzzled at this point to see why the bill would need to be amended at this late date, considering everybody in the chamber has had a chance to see it," said Jerry Cox, head of the Arkansas Family Council. "I think it's been thoroughly vetted, and it's a good law."

Arkansas legislators face a short window to act. The governor has five days after the bill is formally delivered to him to take action before it becomes law without his signature, and lawmakers are aiming to wrap up this year's session Thursday.

In Indiana, Republican legislative leaders huddled behind closed doors for hours with Pence, business executives and other lawmakers, but did not come to an agreement on how to clarify the law.

House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long indicated they hope to have language ready for possible votes Thursday.

The Indianapolis Star, which obtained a draft of proposed language, reported that it would specify that the law cannot be used as a legal defense for refusing to provide services, goods or accommodations based on a person's sexual orientation.

Questions remain in officer-involved shooting at NSA http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150331/ARTICLE/150339867 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150331/ARTICLE/150339867 Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:07:06 -0400 By MEREDITH SOMERS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - The warnings are strong and security is always tight, but most drivers are versed in the daily routine as thousands of employees and contractors stream through the closely guarded entrance to the National Security Agency.

The ordinary start to the work week came to a violent halt Monday, though, when two men dressed as women and driving in a stolen, dark-colored SUV ignored officers' orders at the gate to the spy agency headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland. Police fired on the SUV, which then rammed into a police vehicle. One suspect was killed. The second suspect was injured, as well as a police officer.

Whether the pair wanted to breach the perimeter or the driver was desperate and confused in a security-sensitive area only added to the mystery of the officer-involved shooting.

The FBI's Baltimore field office said it was investigating the "shooting incident."

"The shooting scene is contained and we do not believe it is related to terrorism," spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said in a statement.

The bureau declined to comment on the conditions of the second suspect and officer, except to say they were being treated at a local hospital.

Authorities say the cross-dressing men stole the SUV Monday morning from a hotel in Jessup, Maryland, and ended up about seven miles away at the NSA gate at Fort Meade, a sprawling Army post.

"The driver failed to obey an NSA Police officer's routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus," Jonathan Freed, an NSA spokesman, said in a statement. The vehicle failed to stop, then "accelerated toward an NSA Police vehicle blocking the road. NSA Police fired at the vehicle when it refused to stop. The unauthorized vehicle crashed into the NSA Police vehicle."

Images from the scene showed emergency workers loading a uniformed police officer into an ambulance. Nearby were the dark-colored SUV and a white SUV emblazoned with "NSA Police," both heavily damaged.

"The incident has been contained and is under investigation," Army Col. Brian Foley, the Fort Meade garrison commander, said in a statement. "The residents, service members and civilian employees on the installation are safe. We continue to remain vigilant at all of our access control points."

The men were dressed as women, said a senior defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing case.

Investigators have not determined how the man driving the stolen car died.

The SUV was stolen Monday morning, said Mary Phelan, a spokeswoman for the Howard County Police Department. She declined to name the hotel, citing the ongoing investigation, or release any further details, referring all questions to the FBI.

The FBI is investigating and working with the U.S. attorney's office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted, Thoreson said.

It's not the first time someone has disobeyed orders at an NSA gate. In July, a man failed to obey an NSA officer's command to stop as he approached a checkpoint. The man drove away, injuring an NSA officer and nearly striking a barricade. He was later arrested and is awaiting trial on federal charges.

Earlier this month, police captured a man accused of firing at a building on the NSA campus. The man, who was also accused of shooting at vehicles, told police he heard voices.

Fort Meade is home to the NSA, the Defense Information Systems Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command. About 11,000 military personnel and about 29,000 civilian employees work on the property. The NSA's presence is visible, with large satellite dishes and glass and steel buildings rising from the tree line. Chain-link fences marked with restricted access signs and topped with barbed wire run along the perimeter of the campus. Posted signs inform drivers of various exits for the NSA and Fort Meade, including one for deliveries, another for a visitors' center and one designated for employees.

Jon Reinach, owner of Fort Meade Auto Center, said people sometimes stop by his service center asking for directions. Truck drivers sometimes also have to drop off their assistants at his shop because they don't have proper identification to get past security.

"A lot of people come in here trying to find their way to Fort Meade," Reinach said, adding that he's heard of people going through the wrong security entrance, but "usually they'll pull over to a waiting area and they usually do check out."

Senate's Harry Reid announces he won't seek re-election http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150327/ARTICLE/150329272 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150327/ARTICLE/150329272 Fri, 27 Mar 2015 08:42:41 -0400 By DONNA CASSATA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday he will not seek re-election to another term, saying he wanted to focus on bringing Democrats back to power in the Senate rather than his own re-election.

Reid, 75, said in a statement that it would be "inappropriate for me to soak up all those resources when I could be devoting those resources to the caucus, and that's what I intend to do."

Reid, first elected to the Senate in 1986, was considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in a swing state. He turned back a challenge in 2010.

His announcement is sure to set in motion a scramble in the Senate's Democratic leadership lineup between his top two deputies, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat, issued a statement praising Reid for "his strength, his legislative acumen, his honesty and his determination."

Reid, in his statement, also mentioned the Jan. 1 exercising accident that left him badly bruised and struggling to regain sight in his right eye, saying it gave him time to think about his political future.

"We've got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than about ourselves," Reid said. "And as a result of that I'm not going to run for re-election."

Utility: Inspectors found faulty work before NYC blast http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150327/ARTICLE/150329273 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150327/ARTICLE/150329273 Fri, 27 Mar 2015 07:01:55 -0400 By TOM HAYS and VERENA DOBNIK THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK (AP) – An hour before an apparent gas explosion sent flames soaring and debris flying at a Manhattan apartment building, injuring 19 people, utility company inspectors decided the work being done there was faulty.

The powerful blast on Thursday in the East Village caused the building’s collapse, and largely destroyed another structure. It left four people in critical condition, more than a dozen others injured and one family searching for a loved one.

Firefighters work through the night to put out pockets of fire, pouring large volumes of water over the rubble, a fire department spokesman said Friday morning.

He said when a building collapses it takes much longer – even days – to put out all the fire.

About 200 firefighters and medical staff remained on the scene.

“Currently we’re in the extinguishing phase, making sure there are no further fires and extinguishing the fires that are there, he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said preliminary evidence suggested a gas explosion amid plumbing and gas work inside the building that collapsed was to blame. A plumber was doing work connected to a gas service upgrade, and inspectors for utility company Con Edison had been there, company President Craig Ivey said. But the work failed the inspection, partly because a space for the new meters wasn’t big enough, Con Ed said.

The state Department of Public Service was monitoring Con Ed’s response.

Restaurant diners ran out of their shoes and bystanders helped one another to escape the midafternoon blast, which damaged four buildings as flames shot into the air, witnesses said. Passers-by were hit by debris and flying glass, and bloodied victims were aided as they sat on sidewalks and lay on the ground, they said.

Adil Choudhury, who lives a block away, ran outside when he heard “a huge boom.”

“The flames were coming out from the roof,” he said. “The fire was coming out of every window.”

The flames shot as high as 50 feet into the air, witness Paul Schoengold said.

De Blasio said it didn’t appear that anyone was missing, but late Thursday Tyler Figueroa, 19, of Manhattan said his 23-year-old brother Nicholas had disappeared after going on a date at an East Village sushi restaurant that was leveled by the explosion.

Figueroa said the couple was paying for their meal when the blast occurred, and that his date, who is in the hospital, remembers only stumbling outside before losing consciousness.

“I just pray my brother shows up,” he said. “We just hope my brother comes back.”

Police said early Friday they have no reports of a missing person.

The explosion and fire happened a little over a year after a gas explosion in a building in East Harlem killed eight people and injured about 50. A National Transportation Safety Board report released last week said a leak reported just before the deadly blast may have come from a 3-year-old section of plastic pipe rather than a 127-year-old cast-iron segment that came under scrutiny in the immediate aftermath.

De Blasio noted no one had reported a gas leak before Thursday’s blast. Con Edison said it had surveyed the gas mains on the block Wednesday and found no leaks.

Bystander Blake Farber, who lives around the corner, said he’d been walking by the building and smelled gas seconds before the big blast.

Firefighters continued pouring water on the buildings, in an area of old tenement buildings that are home to students and longtime residents near New York University and Washington Square Park.

“We are praying that no other individuals are injured and that there are no fatalities,” de Blasio said.

“It was terrifying – absolutely terrifying,” said Bruce Finley, a visitor from San Antonio, Texas, who had just taken a photo of his food at a restaurant known for its French fries when he felt the explosion next door. “It just happened out of the blue. ... We were shaking even an hour, hour and a half later.”

The explosion was so forceful it blew the door off a cafe across an avenue and left piles of rubble on the sidewalk. Finley said his son helped to lift debris off a man so he could escape the restaurant where they had been eating.

French prosecutor: Co-pilot wanted to 'destroy' the plane http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150326/ARTICLE/150329385 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150326/ARTICLE/150329385 Thu, 26 Mar 2015 07:51:55 -0400 By LORI HINNANT THE ASSOCIATED RESS

PARIS (AP) - As a frantic pilot pounded on the cockpit door and passengers screamed in panic, the Germanwings co-pilot "intentionally" sent Flight 9525 straight into the side of a mountain in the French Alps, a prosecutor said Thursday.

In a news conference in Paris, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin laid out the horrifying conclusions reached by French aviation investigators after listening to the last minutes of the Tuesday morning flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. The Airbus A320 began to descend from cruising altitude after losing radio contact with ground control and slammed into the remote mountain, killing all 150 people on board.

It was the co-pilot's "intention to destroy this plane," Robin said.

He said the pilot, who has not been identified, left the cockpit, presumably to go to the lavatory, and then was unable to regain access. In the meantime, co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, a 28-year-old German, manually and "intentionally" set the plane on the descent that drove it into the mountain.

Robin said the commander of the plane knocked several times "without response." He said the door could only be blocked manually.

He said the co-pilot's responses, initially courteous, became "curt" when the captain began the mid-flight briefing on the planned landing.

The information was pulled from the black box cockpit voice recorder, but Robin said the co-pilot did not say a word after the commanding pilot left the cockpit.

"It was absolute silence in the cockpit," he said.

During the final minutes of the flight's descent, pounding could be heard on the cockpit door as plane alarms sounded but the co-pilot's breathing was normal throughout the whole time, Robin said.

"It's obvious this co-pilot took advantage of the commander's absence. Could he have known he would leave? It is too early to say," he said.

He said Lubitz had never been flagged as a terrorist and would not give details on his religion or ethnic background. He said German authorities were taking charge of the investigation into Lubitz.

Robin said just before the plane hit the mountain, the sounds of passengers screaming could be heard on the audio.

"I think the victims realized just at the last moment, " he said.

The families of victims were briefed about the shocking conclusions just ahead of the announcement.

"The victims deserve explanations from the prosecutor," Robin said. "(But) they have having a hard time believing it."

Robin said the second black box still had not been found but remains of victims and DNA identification have begun, he said.

In the German town of Montabaur, acquaintances told The Associated Press that Lubitz showed no signs of depression when they saw him last fall as he renewed his glider pilot's license.

"He was happy he had the job with Germanwings and he was doing well," said a member of the glider club, Peter Ruecker, who watched Lubitz learn to fly. "He gave off a good feeling."

Lubitz had obtained his glider pilot's license as a teenager, and was accepted as a Lufthansa pilot trainee after finishing a tough German college preparatory school, Ruecker said. He described Lubitz as a "rather quiet" but friendly young man.

Lufthansa said the co-pilot joined Germanwings in September 2013, directly after training, and had flown 630 hours.

The captain had more than 6,000 hours of flying time and been a Germanwings pilot since May 2014, having previously flown for Lufthansa and Condor, Lufthansa said.

David Rising in Berlin and Alan Clendenning in Madrid contributed to this report.

300Jet crashes in Alps, 148 on board; 'no survivors' expected http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150324/ARTICLE/150329633 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150324/ARTICLE/150329633 Tue, 24 Mar 2015 07:35:54 -0400 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS PARIS (AP) - A passenger jet carrying 150 people crashed Tuesday in the French Alps as it flew from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, authorities said. As search-and-rescue teams struggled to get to the remote, snow-covered region, France's president warned that no survivors were expected.

The crash site was at Meolans-Revels, near the popular ski resort of Pra Loup, according to Eric Ciotti, the head of the regional council in southeast France. The site is 700 kilometers (430 miles) south-southeast of Paris. But with mountains all around and few clear trails into the area, access to the crash site was expected to take time.

The Germanwings Airbus A320 plane left Barcelona at 9:55 a.m., sent out a distress signal at 10:45 a.m., then crashed in a mountainous zone in France at an altitude of about 2,000 meters (6,550 feet), said Pierre-Henry Brandet, the French Interior Ministry spokesman.

Brandet told BFM television he expected "an extremely long and extremely difficult" search-and-rescue operation because of the area's remoteness.

Germanwings official Oliver Wagner told German television that Germanwings flight 9525 carried 144 passengers and 6 crew members. He did not give a breakdown of nationalities on board.

Germanwings is a lower-cost unit of Lufthansa, Germany's biggest airline. It has been operating since 2002, part of traditional national carriers' response from rising European budget carriers. It serves mainly European destinations. I

The Germanwings logo, normally maroon and yellow, was blacked out on its Twitter feed.

Family members arriving at Duesseldorf airport were taken from the main terminal to a nearby building, which airport employees partially covered with sheets for privacy. At Barcelona airport, police escorted several crying women to a part of the airport away from the media. One woman held a jacket over the head of another woman, who was sobbing.

The owner of a campground near the crash site, Pierre Polizzi, said he heard the plane making curious noises shortly before it crashed.

"At 11.30, I heard a series of loud noises in the air. There are often fighter jets flying over, so I thought it sounded just like that. I looked outside, but I couldn't see any fighter planes," he told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "The noise I heard was long - like 8 seconds - as if the plane was going more slowly than a military plane. There was another long noise after about 30 seconds."

Polizzi said the plane crashed about 5-to-8 kilometers (3-to-11 miles) from his place, which is closed for the season.

"It's going to be very difficult to get there. The mountain is snowy and very hostile," he said.

The municipal sports hall of Seyne-les-Alpes, 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the Val d'Allos ski resort, was being set up to take bodies or survivors from the crash, according to Sandrine Julien of the town hall.

There was no obvious weather reason Tuesday why the plane went down. Capt. Benoit Zeisser of the nearby Digne-le-Bains police said there were some clouds but the cloud ceiling was not low.

In addition, the safest part of a flight is when the plane is at cruising elevation. Just 10 percent of fatal accidents occur at that point, according to a safety analysis by Boeing. In contrast, takeoff and the initial climb accounts for 14 percent of crashes and final approach and landing accounts for 47 percent.

In a live briefing Tuesday, Hollande said it was likely that a number of the victims were German.

"It's a tragedy on our soil," he said.

The last time a passenger jet crashed in France was the 2000 Concorde accident, which left 113 dead - 109 in the plane and four on the ground.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with both Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy about the crash, immediately cancelling all other appointments.

At a briefing in Berlin, Merkel told reporters she would travel to the crash site region on Wednesday, and that Germany's foreign and transport ministers were already en route. She said her thoughts were "with those people who so suddenly lost their lives, among them many compatriots."

"The crash of the German plane with more than 140 people on board is a shock that plunges us in Germany, the French and the Spanish into deep sorrow," Merkel said.

She reminded everyone that the cause was not known.

"We still don't know much beyond the bare information on the flight, and there should be no speculation on the cause of the crash," she said. "All that will be investigated thoroughly."

The A320 plane is a workhorse of modern aviation. Similar to the Boeing 737, the single-aisle, twin-engine jet is used to connect cities between one and five hours apart. Worldwide, 3,606 A320s are in operation, according to Airbus.

The A320 is certified to fly up to 39,000 feet but it can begin to experience problems as low as 37,000 feet, depending on temperature and weight, including fuel, cargo and passengers.

The A320 family also has a good safety record, with just 0.14 fatal accidents per million takeoffs, according to a Boeing safety analysis.

The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation was sending three people to France to join the investigation. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, the country's top security official, and the German ambassador in Paris were among those heading to the crash site.

In Madrid, Rajoy suspended his agenda to preside over an emergency government meeting about the crash.

"Like everyone, I lament this incredibly sad and dramatic accident," Rajoy said.

Antonio San Jose, spokesman for the Spanish airport authority AENA, said his agency was working with Germanwings to reach out to relatives of the victims.

Spain's king and queen, in Paris on Tuesday, canceled their previously planned state visit and offered their condolences to all who lost a loved one in the crash.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz launches presidential campaign http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150323/ARTICLE/150329741 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150323/ARTICLE/150329741 Mon, 23 Mar 2015 09:36:33 -0400 By PHILIP ELLIOTT THE ASSOCIATED PRESS LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - Sen. Ted Cruz showed he was a candidate in a hurry early Monday morning, announcing his presidential candidacy on Twitter just after midnight, several hours before the official launch at the college founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell Monday morning.

The Texas Republican's choice of Liberty University for Monday's speech indicates he plans an aggressive courtship of cultural conservatives and young voters.

Cruz became the first high-profile Republican to officially enter the 2016 contest even though, like others, he has been campaigning in all but name for many months. Ahead of his speech, Cruz turned to social media and tweeted: "I'm running for president and I hope to earn your support!"

In a flashy video that accompanied it, Cruz offered a preview of his nascent campaign's message.

"I believe in America and her people, and I believe we can stand up and restore our promise," Cruz said in the web video as images of farm fields, city skylines and American landmarks and symbols played in the background. "It's going to take a new generation of courageous conservatives to help make America great again, and I'm ready to stand with you to lead the fight."

Cruz's decision to launch at Liberty University, a familiar stop for presidential hopefuls that calls itself the world's largest Christian college, is meant as a marker against potential rivals who are counting on Christian conservatives to fuel their ambitions.

Cruz is not expected to be the sole contender for long. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and two Senate colleagues, Kentucky's Rand Paul and Florida's Marco Rubio, are eyeing campaign announcements soon.

For his start, Cruz was bypassing Texas, which he represents in the Senate, as well as early nominating states such as New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney kicked off his own campaign for the GOP nomination in 2012, and Iowa.

By getting in early - and at Liberty - Cruz, 44, was hoping to claim ownership of the influential and incredibly vocal corner of the Republican Party for whom cultural issues are supreme. It was a move aimed at crowding out figures such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist pastor, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, who has made his Catholic faith a cornerstone of his political identity. It also had a potential impact on Cruz's contemporaries, including 43-year-old Rubio and 47-year-old Walker.

Cruz's father, a pastor, is also expected to help the first-term senator make inroads with these voters.

Cruz is already a familiar figure on the circuit for presidential hopefuls, having made repeated visits to the early voting states, the big conservative activist conferences and more. This month, for example, he met party activists in New Hampshire, which hosts the leadoff primary. But, like other presidential prospects, he's been coy about what he's doing. That coyness ended Monday when he jumped in.

By announcing what has long been obvious, Cruz triggers a host of accounting and reporting requirements about money he is raising and how he is spending it. To this point, he had operated his political organization through a non-presidential committee that worked under different rules. By officially joining the race, he now operates under a more stringent set of rules, including being able to accept fewer dollars from each supporter.

Following his election to the Senate in 2012, the former Texas solicitor general quickly established himself as an uncompromising conservative willing to take on Democrats and Republicans alike. Criticized by members of his own party at times, he won praise from tea party activists for leading the GOP's push to shut down the federal government during an unsuccessful bid to block money for President Barack Obama's health care law.

The son of an American mother and Cuban-born father, Cruz is positioning himself to become potentially the nation's first Hispanic president. While he was born in Canada, two lawyers who represented presidents from both parties at the Supreme Court recently wrote in the Harvard Law Review that they think Cruz meets the constitutional standard to run.

Should he fail to win the nomination or the presidency, Cruz would retain his Senate seat through 2019. He also could choose to run for re-election in 2018, having broadened his national network of allies and donors during this presidential campaign

New law opens access to Ohio adoptees' birth certificates http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150320/ARTICLE/150329923 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150320/ARTICLE/150329923 Fri, 20 Mar 2015 13:30:09 -0400 By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Thousands of Ohio adoptees are hoping to learn more about their history, including family medical information, thanks to a law granting them access to their adoption files and birth certificates.

Individuals adopted between January 1, 1964, and September 18, 1996, began requesting the information Friday from the Ohio Department of Health. The new law is expected to give about 400,000 people access to records which had been largely blocked without a court order.

Dozens of people braved cold temperatures and rain to line up outside the state vital statistics bureau first thing Friday to apply in person. Results come in about a month.

"I have been waiting for so long to find out my history, who I originated from," said Dorothy Johnson, 48, a Youngstown police officer, as she shuffled along in line. She's hoping to learn the identity of her mother, who she's been told was 13 when she had Johnson in 1966.

Concerned that adoption records were open to anyone, lawmakers put them off limits in 1964, including to adult adoptees.

Following lobbying from adoptees and their advocates, lawmakers made the records public again in 1996. People adopted in all other years already had access to the records.

But the law was not made retroactive for those caught between the two laws because of pressure from groups, including abortion opponents who feared it would discourage people considering adoption, said Betsie Norris, executive director and founder of Adoption Network Cleveland, and an adoptee who led the fight to change the law.

The law that took effect Friday finally opens the records for those 1964-1996 adoptees. It also gives birth parents the ability to say whether they want to be contacted, and allows birth parents to update their medical information through the state.

"It's about adoptees having the civil right to information that all other Americans can have about themselves," Norris said. "It's a social justice issue." Ohio is the ninth state to make all its records available to adoptees, she said.

Under the law, birth parents who placed a child for adoption between 1964 and 1996 had a one-year period to request that their names be redacted from the birth-certificate information that would be released to the adult adoptee.

Adoptee Sarah Bear says her priority is getting information about her family's medical history. Her children, a 19-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, only have half that history now, said Bear of Westerville in suburban Columbus. She planned to be at the state Department of Vital Statistics first thing Friday morning.

Beyond the medical information, she's curious about her heritage. Bear, 37, grew up in Lima and is close to her adopted family, which supports her efforts.

"My adopted family is very German, so my way of thinking is along those lines, but it would be nice to know what is in my blood," said Bear, 37, an instructional designer at Ohio State.

Case of baby cut from womb highlights fetal homicide debate http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150320/ARTICLE/150329932 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150320/ARTICLE/150329932 Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:27:06 -0400 By SADIE GURMAN and NICHOLAS RICCARDI THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) - The gruesome case of a Colorado woman accused of cutting open the belly of a pregnant woman and removing her unborn baby girl is reviving the highly charged debate over when a fetus can legally be considered a human being.

In the past two years, Colorado twice rejected efforts to make the death of a fetus a homicide. The Democratic-led Legislature voted down a bill in 2013, and 65 percent of voters rejected a ballot measure last year that would have granted legal rights to unborn fetuses, the third rejection of a "personhood measure."

That leaves the state as one of 12 without a law allowing homicide charges in the violent deaths of fetuses - and the fate of Dynel Lane up in the air. Authorities say Lane lured a woman who was nearly eight months pregnant to her home this week by advertising baby clothes on Craigslist. Lane is accused of stabbing the stranger in the belly and removing the fetus.

Stan Garnett, the district attorney of liberal Boulder County, said during a news conference Thursday that Colorado law makes it challenging to file homicide charges when fetuses are killed.

"Under Colorado law, essentially no murder charges can be brought if the child did not live outside of the mother," Garnett said.

The legal complexity seems unnecessary to some. "It's literally absurd," said Keith Mason, the president of Personhood USA, the anti-abortion group that spearheaded the push for Colorado's fetal homicide laws.

The abortion debate has hung over the increasing number of states that have made killing a fetus a homicide. Abortion opponents have promoted the laws, which have been adopted by 38 states and the federal government to the consternation of many abortion-rights supporters.

Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, said the laws cannot be used against a woman who lawfully terminates her pregnancy.

"Some of them have been in existence for 30 years, and they haven't had any impact on legal abortions," he said.

After Colorado Democrats rejected a fetal-homicide bill in 2013, state Rep. Mike Foote authored a measure allowing extra felony charges against anyone who commits a crime causing the death of a fetus. Foote, a Democrat, said the involvement of "personhood" activists in the push for a fetal homicide law makes it impossible for Colorado to implement one without risking lengthy legal fights over abortion.

"The issue we were wrestling with is how you can hold offenders accountable and have some semblance of justice and not interfere with a woman's reproductive rights," said Foote, who is also a prosecutor.

Foote and others said the key issues in the current case will be whether the fetus was alive outside the mother and whether the act that led to the unborn baby's death occurred outside her body. During a brief court hearing Thursday, Lane's defense attorney, Kathryn Herold, requested a defense expert be present during the autopsy planned for Friday.

"In this particular case, the cause of death is going to be essential," she said.

Lane went to great lengths to show her family she was pregnant, sharing an ultrasound photo with her daughter, an arrest affidavit says. Her husband told investigators that when he came home early from work Wednesday to meet her for a prenatal appointment, he found her covered in blood and a baby gasping for breath in a bathtub.

Lane told her husband she had a miscarriage, and he took her and the baby to a hospital, where she was arrested on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder and other crimes.

The victim managed to call 911, and police arrived to help her sometime after the couple left. While drifting in and out of consciousness, the 26-year-old woman told police she did not know Lane and went to her house in response to the ad, the affidavit says.

The woman was alert and answering questions Thursday, police said.

Lane and her former husband lost a 19-month-old boy in a drowning accident in 2002. Her then-husband wasn't home at the time, the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper reported. She and their two daughters, then 5 and 3, searched for the boy until they found him in a fish pond.

He had been playing a game with his sisters while their mother was busy in another part of the house, the newspaper said.

Jennifer Farrar of the Associated Press' News Research Center in New York contributed to this report.

Budget spat leaves House GOP leaders facing new discord http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150320/ARTICLE/150329933 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150320/ARTICLE/150329933 Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:25:07 -0400 By CHARLES BABINGTON and LAURIE KELLMAN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS  

WASHINGTON (AP) – Whether the issue is immigration or federal budgets, Republicans keep learning a bitter lesson: Their sizable and near-historic congressional majority doesn’t necessarily mean they can govern.

House Republican leaders confronted that truth again this week when fiscal conservatives unexpectedly blocked a leadership plan for the new federal budget.

The struggle, which pits Republicans who want a more robust military against those bent on cutting spending, will have to be resolved later in the full House.

Even if that happens, however, lawmakers say GOP leaders will still confront deep ideological divisions that could wreak chaos later this year when it’s time to raise the debt ceiling, fund the government and address other big issues that fire up conservative talk shows.

GOP leaders lack some of the disciplinary tools their predecessors had, colleagues say. And a significant number of House Republicans have little incentive to bend because they are elected by fiercely conservative voters who detest political compromise.

It’s “a different time,” said 10-term GOP Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio, who doesn’t always support House leaders but sympathizes with their struggles. “It’s a tougher job than it was back then to pull together a working majority.”

Chabot cited outside groups that scrutinize “every vote and everything we do” and are quick to declare “we’re not conservative enough.” With President Barack Obama seemingly more eager to veto GOP-passed bills than to compromise with Republicans, he said, “I don’t think it’s possible to do very large things until after the next election.”

Chabot’s colleagues cite other reasons why House Republican leaders – headed by Speaker John Boehner of Ohio – are suffering embarrassing setbacks despite their 245-188 seat advantage over Democrats. (Two seats are vacant.)

GOP leaders struggle to find even a few Democratic votes when needed because moderates from both parties have largely been driven out of Congress. And congressional leaders no longer can dole out pork-barrel projects, or earmarks. For decades, their predecessors used such favors to move balky lawmakers from “nay” to “aye.”

“It’s a contentious time, with a lot of polarization,” said Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who is friendly with party leaders. “And you have fewer tools.”

“There’s no earmarks,” Cole said, and current leaders rarely turn to bare-knuckle tactics such as kicking uncooperative colleagues off plum committees. “Boehner’s style is a little bit more easy-going,” he said. “He doesn’t like to punish people.”

“A lot of people think it’s about intimidation,” Cole said. Actually, he said, “it’s persuasion most of the time, or it’s appealing to your being on the team.”

Many Democrats, and some Republicans, have little sympathy for Boehner.

GOP Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, a frequent Boehner critic, taunted the speaker for recently working with the House’s top Democrat to seek a long-term solution to Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors. When reporters asked Huelskamp on Thursday about Boehner’s fallback plan to tackle the latest budget quarrel in the Rules Committee, the Kansan asked sarcastically: “Did Nancy Pelosi approve that one? Oh, no, that’s the doc fix.”

Wednesday’s midnight meltdown in the House Budget Committee embarrassed Boehner’s team because two top lieutenants intervened – unsuccessfully, it turned out – against Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price’s advice.

Price, from Georgia, had warned that tea party-aligned Republicans wouldn’t swallow the leadership’s bid to increase military spending without clearly offsetting the cost elsewhere. When Price was proven correct, Boehner’s team agreed Thursday to hand the sticky issue to the Rules Committee, and eventually to the full House.

Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas pointed a friendly finger toward Huelskamp and told reporters: “We are working with members to listen to them about what they want and what they’re going to support.”

“The Rules Committee is going to make a great decision,” Sessions said. “I just don’t know what that is yet.”

Several Republicans predicted Boehner’s team will escape the budget jam next week. Even the balkiest GOP lawmakers want the House and Senate to agree on a budget plan so they can use a process called “reconciliation” as a possible vehicle for long-sought goals such as repealing the president’s health care law.

“That’s the No. 1 issue to me,” Huelskamp said, even though Republicans acknowledge that Obama would veto it.

Boehner said his caucus will somehow bring together lawmakers who demand more military spending and those who insist on deeper spending cuts.

The cost-cutters prevailed in the Budget Committee this week. “But there is overwhelming support in our conference for providing additional resources to protect our national security,” Boehner told reporters. He said he will “continue to work with all of our members on this issue.”